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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2008 Jul;65(1):133-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2008.00506.x. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Molecular analysis of bacterial community succession during prolonged compost curing.

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Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.


The compost environment consists of complex organic materials that form a habitat for a rich and diverse microbial community. The aim of this research was to study the dynamics of microbial communities during the compost-curing phase. Three different methods based on 16S rRNA gene sequence were applied to monitor changes in the microbial communities: (1) denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of PCR-generated rRNA gene fragments; (2) partial rRNA gene clone libraries; and (3) a microarray of oligonucleotide probes targeting rRNA gene sequences. All three methods indicated distinctive community shifts during curing and the dominant species prevailing during the different curing stages were identified. We found a successional transition of different bacterial phylogenetic groups during compost curing. The Proteobacteria were the most abundant phylum in all cases. The Bacteroidetes and the Gammaproteobacteria were ubiquitous. During the midcuring stage, Actinobacteria were dominant. Different members of nitrifying bacteria and cellulose and macromolecule-degrading bacteria were found throughout the curing process. In contrast, pathogens were not detected. In the cured compost, bacterial population shifts were still observed after the compost organic matter and other biochemical properties had seemingly stabilized.

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